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Raheel Sharif insists Saudi-led military alliance not against any religion, state

By Web Desk
November 27, 2017

RIYADH: Former Chief of Army Staff, General (retired) Raheel Sharif, who has been appointed as Commander-in-Chief of Islamic Counter-Terrorism Alliance, has insisted that the Saudi-led coalition was not against any religion or state.

The retired general was addressing at the first meeting of the Islamic counter-terrorism alliance in Riyadh. Officials from 40 Muslim countries gathered in the Saudi capital on Sunday.

Raheel Sharif said the alliance aims to "mobilise and coordinate the use of resources, facilitate the exchange of information and help member countries build their own counter-terrorism capacity."

Addressing the gathering, Saudi Arabia´s crown prince vowed to "pursue terrorists until they are wiped from the face of the earth."

"In past years, terrorism has been functioning in all of our countries... with no coordination" among national authorities, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also Saudi defence minister, said in his keynote address to the gathering in Riyadh.

"This ends today, with this alliance."

The summit is the first meeting of defence ministers and other senior officials from the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition, which officially counts 41 countries and identifies as a "pan-Islamic unified front" against violent extremism.

The alliance was announced in 2015 under the auspices of Prince Mohammed, whose rapid ascent since his appointment as heir to the throne in June has shaken the political scene across the region.

The alliance meeting in Riyadh brings together Muslim or Muslim-majority nations including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Uganda, Somalia, Mauritania, Lebanon, Libya, Yemen and Turkey. (AFP/Web Desk)